Saturday, August 21, 2010

Gonna Start a New Blog

I've decided to start a new blog dedicated to crafting projects. I'll still follow a 'sorta frugal' lifestyle, but lately I notice I don't write much on that topic. I want a blog that is more clearly focused.

Meantime, one last little "Sorta Frugal" tip:

Save your $5 bills! Ones don't add up fast enough and tens and twenties are needed for life, like groceries and school supplies. But Fives, well...if you keep stuffing them into a piggy bank from now until Christmas you won't miss them. And won't you be surprised how much cash you'll have on hand for Christmas Shopping!

You just have to solemnly vow not to break into the piggy bank (or, in my case, a pink Owl) until at least mid-November. Not even to count how much you've saved so far!

See you at my new blog!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Patrick and his Snail

Here is a picture of my grand nephew, Patrick, and the blanket and snail I made for him. My sister says my niece loves the blanket, and Patrick loves the snail! I'm glad to have given him one of his first 'lovies.'

Monday, August 09, 2010

Knitting Needle Holder

I had these black gingham curtains in my kitchen but recently got new ones. So I cut the bottom half into dish towels (it's a nice, heavy cotton), and was left with the top half where the casing is for the curtain rod.

So I'm cleaning out my office the other day and thinking of new projects and I suddenly realized the casing was just the right size for knitting needles!

I cut along the casing in increments big enough to hold two pairs of needles--one goes in the casing and one goes where the ruffle would have been. I actually have enough to make a second holder if I want to.

When I cut this, I left enough 'extra' along the edge so I could sew two of the pieces together. Then I cut a flat piece big enough to fold over the tops of the knitting needles. (I had made a crochet hook case with no top and the stupid things are always sliding out.)

I sewed the two pieces right sides together. If I make another, I will finish the edges of the outside piece before I do this, but I just folded in the raw edge and did a zig-zag over it.

If I get really ambitious I might put an elastic loop and button on it. But I like it as it is, for now. I'm only just getting back into knitting again so I treated myself to a set of needles!

I'm linking up to "Just Something I Whipped Up" over at The Girl Creative. Check out all the cute things over there!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Things I've Learned Recently

1. Don't buy kirby cucumbers for refrigerator pickles if you don't know where the recipe is. I had to throw them out because they got all icky. I have made fridge pickles before, but this time I tweaked the recipe and actually measured things. I wrote it all down and came up with a really, really good recipe and damn if I didn't lose the stupid thing.

2. Don't peel peaches 3 days before you're going to can them unless you have lemon juice in the house. Who knew the stupid things turn brown, like apples do? They don't last that long in this house. I ended up cutting all the brown off and now I have pretty peaches, which I am canning right now.

3. It takes a heck of a lot of peaches, tomatoes or whatevers to fill a jar.

4. I wish I had a pot that was about 10 inches across by about a foot high.

Oh, well, it's all a learning experience!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


We got home last night after 12 hours of driving. We made it over the bridges in record time, unlike my poor sister who came to Long Island for a wedding a few weeks ago and was stuck for over 2 hours! (In good traffic, you should be over both the George Washington and whatever the other bridge is in about a half hour.) Driving-wise it was uneventful, thank goodness!

Oh, except for Columbus itself, which had a bunch of detours due to either roadwork or the State Fair.

Okay, I had a nice time at the reunion. It was amazing to see cousins I haven't seen in probably 30 years. It was better, though, seeing my siblings. We have not been together as a family since before my brother Patrick died, which was back in 2000. I'll post a picture soon.

Meantime, speaking of Patricks, here is the blanket and toy (finally finished!) I made little Patrick Warren! Everyone went wild over it. My sister (Patrick's Grandma) and my mother (Great-grandma) will bring it to the baby when they visit this week. They live in Pennsylvania.

I'm not kidding when I say I literally finished it on Friday. It took some finagling to make the applique but I think it looks cute. Mike did the safety eyes for me, as I was not strong enough to force them together. So Great Uncle had a hand in the gift, too!

PS--to give you some perspective, the snail is about 4 inches across the shell, give or take.

As I said before, the blanket is my own design, including the snail, but it was inspired by the snail amigurumi (sp?) designed by Shena Lee Hicks. Here is the link to the blog where you will find the snail pattern, plus the most adorable amigurumi ever!

I am so glad to be home. Life seems easier outside of Long Island, but this is still my home and ya know there's no place like it.

Editing to link to "Spotlight Yourself" over at "It's So Very Cheri":

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hi from Ohio

Visiting my mom in Ohio this week. Mike and I drove here with Nicky (the only kid who was free from work) and it took 11 hours!
Tonight we had dinner with my 2 sisters and brother. I think it has to be more than 10 years since we were last together. We're pretty spread around the map--Georgia, New York, Michigan and Ohio.
Everyone loves the baby blanket--which is finished! I have no means to put a photo on it here because I'm using my mother's desktop. Alas, she does not have wi-fi so my laptop is good only for games. I'll post a photo after I get back to New York.
All-in-all, a nice family trip. Tomorrow is the big Family Reunion with cousins and other relatives. I think my mother (87) and my aunt (89) will be the oldest people there.
Hope everyone has a nice weekend!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Baby Afghan

Here is the afghan I made for my new grand nephew, Patrick. (See previous post.) It's about 95% finished. I just have to tuck in the loose ends, then finish and attach the snail applique. I'm also making a snail amigurumi toy to go with it.

The afghan is my own design, as is the applique. The amigurumi comes from here:

There are some really adorable things on this site, so check it out soon!

I'm waiting for some safety eyes, on the way from an Etsy seller. I'll try to post a photo of both the finished snail and the blanket when it's done. I'm heading off to Ohio next week but plan to bring my laptop with me.

I'm glad to be finishing up this project. It's always nice to check something off your list. Then I can start something else, LOL!

I'm linking over to "Strut Your Stuff Thursday" at Somewhat Simple. Check out all the cute links over there!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Good News!

My grand nephew, Patrick Warren was born yesterday! 9 lbs. 6 oz!

I have been crocheting a blanket for him. It's yellow with green trim. I finished the blanket part today and started the applique (a snail). I hope to have everything done to bring to Ohio next week. They live in PA, but my mother (Great Grandma!) is visiting them and she can bring it with her. All this heat considered, I doubt the kid will want a heavy blanket just yet anyway, LOL!

I will post a picture tomorrow of the blanket so far.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Baby Bird Story

One evening, a few weeks ago, we heard a racket in the backyard. I ran outside to find one of my cats (Melody is the guilty party) had cornered a little fledgling bluejay. I scooped up the baby while Jamie got Melody and Nutmeg into the house. Shadow was running around but wasn't one iota interested in baby bird.

The mamas and aunties were freaking out and dive-bombing, of course. I waited to see if the baby would fly away but he seemed too scared. It got to be twilight and, unfortunately, the adult birds took off. I couldn't leave baby bird outside all night. So we sat on my deck for a while. I was still hopeful he'd fly off. (Or she?) But it got darker and the bird was so comfortable it actually fell asleep in my hand. I couldn't bring it inside and I didn't want to just abandon it to the night (and raccoons) so I took a basket and one of those reuseable shopping bags and made a kind of 'tent.' I put this under the overhang of my house and put the baby inside.

A few hours later, he was still there. But in the morning, he was gone--no sign of him. I looked everywhere and have to assume that, with the dawn, he found his wings and flew.

Okay, so about a week later we hear racket again. Again with the cats! This time, the baby bird was much bigger and able to get itself up into the trees. I wonder if it was the same one? But the story continues...

As I said yesterday, I have a bird story. I've been hearing "Ma! Ma! Ma!" all day long for about a week now. I finally spotted a young bird (I can tell because of the downy feathers) following an older bird around. He lands on a branch behind her (gotta guess this is mommy) flaps his wings and opens his mouth just like a nestling. She, on the other hand, ignores him. She is like me, a mother of 'adult' kids who's expecting them to fly off one at a time, except she's tougher than I am.

Okay, so young birdie finally decides to descend to the grass for a peanut. I had some out there out of the shell. He must have seen the bigger birds eat peanuts this way: they put the shell under one talon and peck away to get at the good stuff. Except, he started to peck at the peanut itself. Of course, most of it fell to the ground.

I sure hope he got at least a taste, because, in a flash, his sibling flew up to him and snatched it away!

I wonder if it has been the same baby all along? Who knows, but I'm sure he'll be back for more peanuts as he grows!

(If you've actually read this far...thanks!)

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Early Morning... my backyard: pleasant enough to have my coffee and English muffin out there. But we're going to have another scorcher today. We're not expecting rain until at least Friday.

Whine, whine, whine--I keep reminding myself what our heroes overseas are going through in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. I totally sympathize, but...that doesn't mean I have to like our heat!

Anyway, back to the backyard. My favorite squirrel is back! She is the sweetest thing. She does a 'trick' where I will put a peanut in the crook of a tree branch while she waits a little bit up the trunk. Then I'll call to her and she'll come down for it. In fact, if she sees me at the back door, she'll run up the tree and wait for me to feed her! I haven't seen her in a long time. Three very young squirrels have been by but they are still timid. One will stop for a few moments, then run. I think he/she (too young to tell) might become another favorite squirrel. I'm also pretty sure these babies are my Favorite Squirrel's litter.

I also have a cute baby bluejay story but that's for another day.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

It's Too Darn Hot

A little while ago, the atomic clock read 100.4 degrees on the deck--in the shade! Now it's down to 99.5 (think I'll get out my sweater!) but all I know is...I hate heat almost as much as I hate ice and cold! Well, at least you don't have to shovel it.

That's today on Long Island, and we haven't had rain in roughly a week, either. You could light a fire on my lawn, it's so dry and brown. (I heard that just means it's sleeping.)

We need rain!!!!

How's it going in other parts of the country?

Monday, July 05, 2010

Lunch with the kids

I had a nice lunch today with my two oldest. They wanted me to try a favorite sushi place. Unfortunately, it was closed. So we went to an all-you-can-eat sushi bar. I was happy we found a restaurant open on Monday, since so many of them are closed this day. The food is very fresh and they even have little notes in front of each dish telling you what time it was put out. There is also a hot food line with some Chinese and American treats, as well as another with all kinds of salads and vegetables. One of my favorite things to put on my plate is salad with ginger dressing. I loooove ginger dressing, LOL!

Afterwards, Michael went back home and Katherine and I hit the local farm stand. I sure wish we could get fresh produce like that all year 'round. The peaches and plums are straight from heaven. The tomatoes aren't local just yet (the girl told me they will be in about a week) but they are from the family's farm in New Jersey. So long as they don't come from a factory, I'm happy.

Speaking of all-you-can eat places, Mike and I walked in and walked out of a Chinese buffet on Friday night because they were asking $26 a person. Now, I love Chinese food, but I can't eat $26 worth of the stuff. I didn't get past the lobby (vestibule?) so I don't know exactly what they had out that was worth such a high price. We just went back to an old favorite, where they only charge $14.95 and the food is very good. Even though I'm pretty flush as far as money these days (having fewer kids in the house and a good stockpile of food) I don't want to get into wasteful habits again. And paying $10 extra per person for just about the same food is my idea of wasteful!

I hope everyone has a great week and had a wonderful 4th of July!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Do you ever yell at the TV?

I do! It used to drive my oldest son nuts. (Mom, who are you talking to?!)

I did it this morning. I was watching one of those Good Morning, America type shows. Actually, I was playing secretary and waiting for an important call for my husband. (He was outside doing some kind of garage cleaning.)

Okay, so they have one of those 'how to cook cheap meat so it is tender' features. Nice idea. We've all done it--all of us frugal domesticas, anyway.

He starts with a rump roast (my favorite roast, btw) and compares it to, I don't know, a filet mignon? So what was I yelling about? The price comparison was 9.99 for the rumper and 25.99 for the filet! I can get the filet's price, but...

...what idiot pays 9.99 a pound for rump roast? Even at full price? And especially when it goes on sale for about 2.99 a pound often enough!

And even worse? How about 12.99 for London Broil? Duh! Is it just New York City prices? They don't have sales?

I used to be lucky enough to get London Broil (aka Top Round around these parts) for 1.99. Now I'm happy if it's under $3 a pound. But I wouldn't pay those other prices for anything, not even lobster!

Okay, enough yelling. I just get befuddled at stuff like this. Hope you all have a safe and happy Four of July weekend!

BTW, just for the record? Filet Mignon may be the most tender meat you can buy, but it also has probably the least flavor. That's why they always wrap bacon around it in restaurants! I would never pay for it, even for a special occasion. Our meat of choice? Boneless sirloin. I bought some for just 2.99 a pound this week and it is goooooood.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Big Mac Sauce

(First: please scroll down for another post featuring 'one yard wonder' projects!)

Not the real recipe--a fakeout that tastes reeaaaally good.

This makes about a cup and a half.


1 Cup mayo
1/4 C French Dressing
2 Tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons sweet pickle relish
Onion powder to taste--or about 2 T finely minced fresh onion
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
dash salt

Mix it all up and store in a jar. Let it mellow in the fridge for a few hours to blend the flavors, giving it a stir every once in a while. Enjoy on burgers or anywhere else you'd like.

This reminds me of recipes for Thousand Island Dressing. The difference seems to be that you use French dressing here instead of ketchup. Imagine, someone at McD's changed one ingredient of a classic recipe and created the standard for 'secret burger sauce'!

I'm linking to "The White Blue Sky" to join in "Culinary Evolution." Hop over there for a yummy-sounding Barbecue Sauce recipe!

New One Yarders

Here are two more projects from the One Yard Wonders book. (This thing is underlining and I don't know why--I can't even see an 'underline' icon.)

On the left is a folder for holding CDs. I keep mine in the compartment between the front seats, but the pattern also shows you how to add elastic to put it over the visor.

The project on the right is a trash bag. The original has straps made from matching fabric, but I have a ton of ribbon so I used some of that instead. This bag has a pocket in the front. I'm not sure what it's for, but I guess I'd put plastic bags in there.

It's tied behind the passenger seat. That way, I just have to reach back and put in my trash, and I never even have to take my eyes off the road.

Both projects were very easy, as are most of the items in the book!

Again, apologies for the underlining!

PS, I'm linking over to "The Trendy Treehouse" to join in Creative Share today.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Mike's birthday and thrifting

My wonderful husband, Mike, is 56 years old today. We went out to breakfast this morning. I'm not sure what we're doing for dinner. We usually go out on Friday, mostly the Taco Bell or diner route. I offered to make him burgers, but we'll see what he wants to do.

Meantime, on a totally different topic, I've been thinking of some new clothes for fall. I want to work around green, maroon (or burgundy) and beige. I can make the tops and I even have a green jacket that is almost finished. But I don't like making pants--they never fit right for all that work--so I thought I'd just check Macy's and Sears on line to see what was in style. I also looked at some tops for the heck of it.

Well, pants are pants. I'm pretty conservative so I'd only go for regular-looking ones, not anything with fancy embroidery or cut outs or bling. One thing I prefer is a wider waistband. It sits more comfortably against my stomach, which is hyper sensitive. (I hate elastic, btw.) So there wasn't much that was interesting.

But the tops annoyed me. I'm sorry...$40 for a t-shirt? Just 'cause it has a little bit of ruffling? You're joking, right? I don't care who's name is on it, it's a blasted t-shirt!

Anyhoo, I had about five more bags of 'stuff' to get rid of, so I headed back to the trusty thrift store today. I don't usually have much luck with clothes (most of it is either too shrunken or faded) but today I decided to plow the racks. I found 4 tops that cost me less than $12 for all of them! 2 are tanks, one is a fabric of woven cotton, striped, with three buttons down the front and a collar, and the last one is a peasant blouse in knit. The peasant blouse may end up being a PJ top, but that's okay because I need one for summer.

So here I'm posting again with no pictures. Boring! I have a way now to get my pictures on the computer from the camera, and I have a cute "One-Yard Wonder" project to show off. Next post, I promise!

If you read this far, thank you! I tend to talk too much!

Monday, June 21, 2010


Just wanted to say a quick hello! It drives me nuts when I visit a blog I love and the blogger hasn't written in it in months. I don't want to be like that. (Not that my blog is so interesting, LOL!)

Nothing much is new. Father's Day was very nice. The kids and I gave Mike a blue-ray system plus the movie "Avatar" to watch on it. He really enjoyed that. We had a barbecue for dinner. Mike would eat burgers every day if he could.

Friday night, my daughter Katherine surprised us with a dinner out. I happened to have a certificate for $25 at a new Italian place, so we went there. Mike and the owner have known each other for years through the gym they go to, but I didn't know that when I got the certificate. (It was verrrry cheap, btw, maybe $4? You totally have to try if you haven't already. And if you use Paypal, see if they've got a deal going on.)

I have to tell you it was one of the best meals I've ever had in my life! Certainly the best in years. Mike and I usually hit the diner or Taco Bell or Wendy's on Friday night, but Katherine insisted on someplace much nicer. You know how sometimes you treat yourself to a special place and it's such a let down? Not Martino's! I had duck in a raspberry-apricot sauce that was perfect--love the crispy skin. And, OMG, the spinach salad! Put goat cheese, cranberries and toasted nuts on a salad and I'm totally there!

Mike enjoyed his veal parmigiana, and Katherine had a nice pasta dish with vegetables. We won't even talk about the amazing desserts. Okay, I had a piece of toasted coconut vanilla layer cake that sent me to heaven. Mike had Mississippi Mud Cake and Katherine had a Napolean.

All in all, a beautiful treat from our beautiful daughter.

Ha, I just realized this was a little bit more of a post than 'hi'!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ruthless Decluttering

Yeah, I'm still here. Most of what I've wanted to blog about involves photos of things I've made, but I lost that wire that connects the camera to the computer. We had carpeting installed (berber in neutrals--I love it) and several rooms were topsy-turvy. I'm still looking for things despite the fact I really tried to keep it all in some kind of order.

It flips me out how much you can accumulate. It doesn't look like all that much when it's in drawers, baskets and closets.

Worse than the wire is that I can't find a paycheck, either. I might have to ask my boss to rewrite it for me, but I'll keep looking.

Having to plow through all this stuff, I got it into my head to up my decluttering. As I've posted before, we'll be downsizing from 11-ish rooms to maybe 5 or 6 within the next year or two, so I have to get rid of things!

I was looking at my shelves of fabric scraps. They are nicely organized by color in bins that generally match--pink in a pink bin, blue in a blue basket. You get the picture. But I've got 25 or so photo albums stored up in the attic that I want to bring down. I need a place to put them.

So here's the ruthless part...I managed to get rid of about 90% of my scraps! Yeah, really! Honestly, if you haven't used it in...uh, five? Seven?...years, you ain't never gonna use it!

So donate it to charity! I have 2 huge bags of nice scraps (and I'm talking decent sized, at least to combine for a quilt or to make doll clothes) to bring to the Salvation Army Store this week.

Not sure yet what I'll do with the empty baskets but they'll find a place or be donated, too.

Oh, and I also got the nutty idea to clean out my crafts closet today. I reorganized, got rid of stuff and put it back in a way that makes it easier to find things. I'm not done yet, but the biggest thing I did (and here's being ruthless again) is that I cut back on my yarn by about 30%. I simply got rid of those half-balls of leftover yarn and yarns I didn't like working with. I don't like baby weight or bulky, fancy yarns. So out they went.

The back of my SUV looks like I live in it. But my office is 75% cleaner. This is more than a one day project, but I got a good start.

BTW: today is my youngest son's 20th birthday! We gave him a digital camera. I also bought a metal bucket at Christmas Tree Shops (cool store) that I filled with treats like Pringles chips and hot fudge sauce and candy. That made him very happy because he wasn't expecting it.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

A fancier apron

You can probably guess this is no 'one yard' apron, LOL! (Click on my header, then scroll down for my clothespin apron post). Frankly, it took me forever to make this. The fault is more mine than the pattern--I am notorious for not reading instructions and proceeding on my own. This is not a good thing if something is totally foreign to you (even after 40 years of sewing). That zig-zaggy bottom was a pain in the neck. Silly me, I tried to sew it 'right sides together,' because that is what you usually do. No, in this case, you fold down the raw edge on the eyelet then lay it on top of the gingham. No twisting and turning necessary.

I like the back, although I'm not used to aprons that criss-cross like that. I have to figure out the straps when I put it on.

Oh, and that really is a Target bag on Sunny the Mannequin. I don't know what they cover dress forms with, but slipping things on and off of them is really difficult--too much traction. The plastic bag makes this easier.

I'm linking to "Sew Cute Tuesday" today:

Go pay Misty a visit!

(BTW, this is my second post today. I also posted for "Tammy's Recipes" for "Kitchen Tip Tuesday.")


"It's So Stinkin' Cute" Thursday

Check out the cuteness on Julie's blog!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Bavarian Cream Recipe

This is an old family favorite that I'm making for dessert today. It's very, very easy and a nice, light ending to a meal. (Light doesn't mean low calorie, it means 'not filling', LOL!)

You need:

1 large box strawberry Jell-O
1/2 pint whipping cream
grapes, halved *
cut up pineapple (don't use fresh)
cut up oranges (I'm using mandarin)
mini marshmallows
You can also add finely chopped walnuts and maraschino cherries, if desired

Like most of my mother's recipes, there are no set numbers for most of this--just eyeball it. You really can't go wrong.

Make the Jell-O and refrigerate until it starts to gel (my mother uses some of the canned pineapple juice for the water.

Whip up the cream. Fold it into the partially gelled Jell-O.

Add the fruit and marshmallows.

Chill until set, then enjoy!

* Being 'Sorta Frugal' I refuse to pay $3.99 a pound for grapes, even though I'd only need a handful. So I'm going to try blueberries in this recipe today.

I will post a picture of this later today--it's a very pretty dessert. For the record, it is nothing like 'ambrosia,' which is much heavier and has coconut in it.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Prepping Dry Ingredients

I like to get my dry ingredients ready ahead of time. I've got a few bags of pre-measured flour for bread in my bread drawer, for example. I'm going to try a new recipe for Memorial Day. It is the Deen Brothers' Hush Puppies. I cut it from a magazine, which would either be Paula Deen's or Food Network--can't remember which. Anyway, the more I can do ahead of time, the happier I am. So I measured out the dry ingredients into a zipper bag. I know that people use tall glasses for filling bags, but I needed something bigger. Then I remembered this metal 'vase' I'd bought for a dollar on some clearance rack. I don't currently have anything in it. It was the perfect size for this job! Now I can fill up bigger bags with dry ingredients without making a big mess.

Don't you love finding new uses for old things? I have another one of these that I spray-painted turquoise. It holds all my little dish detergent packets!

It's time for Kitchen Tip Tuesday's over at Tammy's Recipes. I have a link to Tammy's blog on my sidebar, but here's a link to today's carnival:

BTW, the hush puppies were a total failure. Well, not total. They looked great. But they tasted horrible. I'm sure it's something I did wrong, but I'd never make the recipe again.

I did, however, make the best ribs I've ever made. My husband said, 'that's the way to make ribs.' Basically, you simply brown them off on the grill, then you put them in a big pan covered in barbecue sauce (I used Bullseye Memphis style) and cover that with foil. Then you throw them into a 250 degree oven for about 3 hours. They just fall off the bone when you eat them. Oh, and that really is two hundred fifty degrees. 350 for 3 hours would probably burn the sauce!

Fifty Cent Patriotic Wreath

I've seen 'rag wreaths' on several blogs and thought they looked easy and cute.

My neighbor was having a garage sale yesterday. I bought a picture frame, plus 2 wire wreath frames. They cost me 50 cents apiece.

Then I hit my stash and started tearing up red, white and blue fabric. These wreaths are so easy to make I might just have to use the other frame for another time of the year. I have so many scraps. I'm thinking autumn colors for the fall. I could keep the wreath hung up all through September, October and November. This one will stay on the wall behind my desk for the summer.

I'll probably add more rags as I go along.

BTW, Happy Memorial Day tomorrow. I'm sure everyone (all 3 of you) reading this has someone who gave his/her life for our freedom. I'm also sure those true heroes are enjoying barbecue up in heaven! (Yeah, I think you really live up there. Just floating around playing a harp seems boring to me. Hope this doesn't offend anyone.)

Monday, May 24, 2010

Another One Hour Project

Here's another project from the "One Yard Wonders" book (by Yaker and Hoskins). It's called "Granny's Clothespin Apron." In my version, I used two different fabrics, but they do add up to about a yard. This fabric came from Joanne's and it was in the baby section. Brown with either pink or powder blue seems to be a color combo for bambinos these days--very stylishly cute!

This project went together very fast. Now all I have to do is wait for a sunny day to use it. I keep my clothespins in a bag Debbie J (see my sidebar) made for me, but the clothesline doesn't move so I keep having to go back for handfuls of pins. Now I can keep them in Debbie's bag but carry them in my apron.

I'm going to try to link up to some creative carnivals this week. Today I'm linking to "The Girl Creative" for her "Just Something I Whipped Up Monday."

I'm also linking to "Motivate Me Monday" over at "Keeping it Simple."

Edited to link to:

"Look What I Made" at Creations by Kara

"Creative Share" at Trendy Treehouse

Sunday, May 23, 2010

An evening at the beach

I'm not much for beaches in the daytime, despite growing up on Long Island. I hate the heat and I detest the crowds.

But the beach at twilight? That's another story. Mike and I went last night to one of our 'state park' beaches and took a nice stroll along the water's edge. That's the Long Island Sound behind us. As you can see, I'm carrying a net bag full of shells. They are now spread out on a tray in the middle of my dining room table.

I found one piece of amber beach glass. The most unusual shell I found was a black scallop shell. I've never seen a black one and it was the only one I came across last night.

Of course, I also picked up rocks of unusual and attractive shapes. They don't look as pretty away from the beach, so I'll probably put them in mason jar of water to give them their 'shine.'

Mike took the picture on top by holding the camera up over our heads and aiming down. I saw on a TV show that this is a good way to take a picture. It took me 3 efforts of my own to realize it makes more sense to have the taller person hold the camera--I kept cutting off Mike's head.

BTW, doesn't he look amazing for a guy who will be 56 next month? (And he can still bench press 350 pounds!)

Friday, May 21, 2010

One Yard Projects

I found a wonderful book called "One-Yard Wonders" by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins. There are 101 projects in here that take only a yard of fabric. There are household items, baby things, toys, accessories, clothing--things you never thought you could do with a yard of fabric!

This is a 'charging station.' As you can see, it's a box with a hole cut in the back that you use for things that need charging (like my DS and my Black-and Decker scissors). It is on a table in my living room and looks so much nicer than the crummy old tray I had there.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who sews! Oh, and the best part--it comes complete with patterns!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Like I died...

...and went to book heaven. That is how I describe my experience visiting a library today that I haven't been to in years. We used to belong until we moved to another school district. I mostly go to our own local library, plus two others one town over. I haven't been to the H library since I don't remember when.

What happened is that my neighbor belongs to a garden club, and she told me they were having a flower show today. I've never gone to a flower show, so I thought, 'why not--it's local.' But I got there a half hour too early so I decided to just sit around the library perusing magazines.

I have to tell you, I kind of felt like Belle in Beauty and the Beast when he shows her the library. The H library is still in the same building, but back in the day I'd guess they were barely using 1/4 of the space for the library proper. (The rest was meeting rooms.)

It has to be at least 3 times as big as it was. I've never seen so many books. Rows and rows and rows! The magazine aisle was at least 20 feet long.

The floor was carpeted, and everything was nice and 'open.' I didn't have time to look around as much as I wanted, because I wanted to get to the flower show, but I'm sure going back again. I'm hoping I can use my E library card there. I can use it at two other libraries, so it's pretty likely I can use it there, too. Even if I can't, it will be a nice place to spend a few hours on a hot summer day. I'll just pull books off the shelf to read a chapter at a time, LOL!

Don't you love it when you find something you didn't know about?

Oh, and the flower show was wonderful! The displays were amazing. There were floral arrangements, plants, and clippings from flowering bushes. I love how they put individual flowers in glass bottles--tiny flowers in small bottles, big flowers in tall glass vases. There was a flower from a rhododendron that was five inches across--I'd love to see THAT bush!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Just a Little Note

I'm still around. I've just been having too much fun with a)the iPod the kids gave me for Mother's Day and b)my new sewing machine. It's a Brother somenumberorother and I love it. 130 stitches, easy to use, lightweight and only cost me two paychecks. I'd saved for the iPod but since I got that as a gift I went for the new sewing machine. I hope to show some things I've made, soon.

Other news: I'm probably 10 or 15 rows from finishing the crocheted baby blanket I'm making for my niece's baby (due in July). Then I will do the border around the edges. I didn't want it to be plain and it hit me today just how to decorate it. I'm going to make a caterpillar out of crocheted circles to match the border! I think that will be very cute.

I'm absolutely thrilled to hear the baby's name: Patrick Warren. Why? Because my niece is naming her little boy after one of my brothers, who passed away about 10 years ago. Patrick was the coolest guy ever, without a mean bone in his body. I don't want to go into private details, but he was only 52 when he had a heart attack. He was the victim of a crime and heavy duty pain killers probably ruined his heart.

(Warren is the father's father's name. And it also happens that my niece's mil's name is Patricia!)

My mother was so happy to hear about the baby's name. She not only lost Patrick 10 years ago, but another son back in the early 1970s. (My son Michael is named not only for my husband and fil, but for my brother.)

Life goes on, and I'm betting Patrick is smiling up in heaven to know his name will go on in our family!

Friday, May 07, 2010

Frugal Tray

I found these cute plastic trays for a quarter each after Easter. On the left is 'before' and on the right is 'after.' To make the green tray, I cut a big picture from a calendar (also bought on clearance!) to cover the picture in the middle of the tray. The avocado flowers around it are from an advertisement.

I used Modge-Podge for this. It dries nice and clear. I think I might be using a lot of this stuff. It's really fun to play with. Now I have a nice tray for the spring and summer.

Haven't decided what to do with the blue one yet, but I'm thinking patriotic. We'll see. It's a fast and easy project. The hardest part was finding pictures in a magazine that weren't mushed up with other images or half-off the page.

The jar says Modge-Podge is non-toxic, but I don't think I'd put food directly on this anyway. If anyone knows if that is safe to do, lmk.

Linking to:
Frugalicious Friday

Frugal Friday

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Thrifty Tip Tuesday

Note: editing this at 5:25 EDT 'cause Lori of Couponomic Stimulus Package invited me to link to her "Tuesday Tips" Carnival, too! Here is her link:

And here is the link to "Thrifty Tip Tuesday," and other source for great frugal tips!

It's Thrifty Tip Tuesday over at "I am a Money Magnet" today. I have a little tip: take inventory! Not just of what's in your freezer and pantry, either. Today's reminder is to write down what you have on your fridge door! If you are like me, you have a few 'ingredients' that may go forgotten for ages. Some stuff will last--hoisin sauce keeps indefinitely, I've heard--but some you want to use it before you lose it.

A site that really helps me is "Supercook." Here's the link:

Just plug in whatever ingredients you have on hand (like that chopped garlic you bought last year) and it will list all kinds of recipes for you. It's free, of course!

Hope you like my tip. Please visit Jamie's blog and join in!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

I made the above 'Scrappy Clutch' from this tutorial. I left the strap off because I'm using this as a makeup bag to throw in my pocketbook. The tutorial is excellent, so if you see any mistakes, that's just me, LOL!

Christine has quite a few tutorials on her blog, so be sure to check them out. They are well-illustrated and fun--quite a lot of work for a mommy who has three little ones!

BTW, that's the baby afghan in the background. I've made some good progress on it!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Frugal Friday, etc.

(I've edited this post to link to some other frugal blogs!)

It's "Frugal Friday" over at "Life as Mom" and I am participating today!

Here is my idea:

I made myself a mini coupon binder. I've tried several methods of keeping coupons, and they all worked great at the time I was using them. But here's the gist: I not only have quite a stockpile (I literally can't squeeze one more thing in the freezer) but there are also only four of us home now since the two oldest have moved out. My younger kids, 19-year-old Nick and 23-year-old James, have schedules that mean I'm rarely cooking for four of us anyway. And I have enough food in this house (barring the need for fresh things like salad or milk or bread) to feed an army for two months.

So...I'm currently not using as many coupons as I was when I was building my stockpile and feeding 6 on a regular basis. I needed something I could just carry around quickly to any store, and the accordian folder thing just doesn't work for me.

I had thought about the idea to use baseball card holders in a big binder, but I couldn't find any. Then I saw these little plastic pouches in Michael's. I think they are meant to hold beads or other small craft items. I bought them with my 40% off coupon. Then I went to the dollar section for a small notebook and some bling-bling. (Some of my bling has fallen off as you can see.)

The pouches have zip closers but I wanted to be able to pull the coupons out easily, so I cut those off. Then I used sticky-dots to 'glue' one pouch on each page of the notbook. I can slip some coupons right in and others I just fold so I can see what they are. This is easy to carry everywhere.

My little coupon binder wouldn't work for a big family or someone just starting a stockpile, but for anyone 'downsizing' or just taking a break from couponing, I think it would be a good idea. Besides, a cute notebook is cuter than any accordian folder, LOL!

(PS--one other thing I would do is to put tabs along the sides to make each category easier to get to!)

Added: I've also linked to "Couponic Stimulus Package" and "I am A Money Magnet," where you will find some other great frugal tips!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday, Monday

It's no longer that draggy 'facing another week' day! Not with these awesome carnivals to inspire your creativity! Click on the links and have fun!

"Just Something I Whipped Up"

"Motivate Me Monday"

"It's So Very Creative"

"Metamorphosis Monday"

"Made by Me Monday"

Friday, April 16, 2010

Some pillows I made

Shadow Dante likes to bury himself under pillows on the couch, like being in a den or cave. I think he finds these pillows very comfortable! Yes, that is an unfinished edge on the one. The other pillow isn't sewn closed, either. In fact, I just stuffed the whole bag of stuffing in the bag. It was actually the right size. These are only 'seasonal' pillows which will be replaced when fall comes. In the meantime, the blue and yellow is very cheerful, I think!
BTW, I also made the quilt, but don't look too closely. I am definitely NOT a quilter, LOL!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Aren't flowers something like a gift, especially after a long winter? All that color! I had planted a bunch of bulbs last fall and this is the result. The hyacinths smell amazing.

That's Melody chilling out in the backyard in the top photo. I tried to get a picture of Shadow, but he won't sit still.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Sew Crafty Friday

Here are some patriotic things I made recently. The "C" thing is a potholder and the others are double-sided napkins. If you scroll down to yesterday's blog entry, you'll see a very simple tutorial for the napkins. I can use them for Memorial Day and Fourth of July!
Shereen doesn't have SCF up on her blog yet. Not only that, but I have her link totally wrong on my sidebar. I'll have the correct link here later on after Shereen does her Sew Crafty Friday thing today.
Meantime, so much for the amazing summer-like weather we've been having. It's pouring rain again. I don't mind. The flowers need it! (My cute little daffodils have pretty much died because of the heat.) However, my bil and others in his area were still pumping out their basements from the last storm, so I hope this won't be another bad one.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

8/9 ain't bad plus tutorial

I have so many things to do--some fun, like sewing, some boring but necessary, like paying bills. Don't you ever look around the mess that is your home (I don't mean 'mess,' I mean 'people actually live here, it isn't a showroom') and feel overwhelmed?

I like to-do lists, but sometimes they can be discouraging if you don't check off all the things you had planned to do in a day.

The best idea, I think, is to keep a minimal list and give yourself all day to tackle it. I had 9 items on my list today, not including just straightening up around the house. I managed to finish 10 of them. The boring stuff included paying my Sears bill and shredding 10 items from my 'to shred' box. The fun stuff mostly involved sewing, although I also consider hanging and removing clothes from the clothesline 'fun.' (We had another 80 plus day today.)

I cut out 2 tops for the summer and got a good start on one of them.

I dropped a bag of attic stuff at the thrift store and came home with a simple white candle base (for wide candles) and a cute star-shaped basket that I will use for any patriotic holiday. (I spent $2 plus tax. I traded in about 15 items for 2--not bad for decluttering!)

Speaking of patriotic, I finished 3 very simple napkins. 3 because that's all the fabric I had. Here is a simple tutorial, done without a serger*:

For each napkin, cut 2 pieces of fabric the same size. Mine measure about 8 x 8 but you might want to go bigger.

Pin the fabric WRONG sides together and stitch all around the edges with about a half inch seam.

Now, take your pinking shear and trim all around the edges. You are done!

Since I just made these, I haven't washed them. I expect them to fray a little but I think that will make them look more interesting.

Sorry, no photos, but I will try to take one for Sew Crafty Friday tomorrow.

*I'm still afraid of those things.

BTW, if you've gotten this far and you want to know what I didn't get done...#9 was to pin the sleeves into a jacket I'm making.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

I can hardly believe it!

My thermometer says it is 88 degrees outside!!!!

88 degrees! And this after a winter with the worst blizzard Long Island has seen in decades. (Actually, it was still fall when that happened.)

Blue skies, sunshine--considering many people on our South Shore (my bil and his family included) have been pumping water from their basements for a week now after a HUGE storm, I hope it lasts, especially for them.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Thrifty Tip Tuesday

Can we ever have enough money-saving tips? Of course not! I recently discovered "Thrifty Tip Tuesday" over at "I Am a Money Magnet." Here's the link:


My tip today is one I've blogged before, but it is worth repeating. A great way to save money is to shop the 'after holidays' clearance sales. I'm speaking particulary of after Passover sales. I'm not Jewish but I always check the special aisle when Passover is done. You can get some great buys on quality items like good vanilla or cake mix or canned pineapple. One year I even got a set of storage containers really cheap. What is Kosher about storage containers? Well, they have different colored lids so you don't mix things together that shouldn't be mixed according to Jewish law.

Of course, there will be Easter items on sale, too. But it's only a few days past Easter and I try to save at least 75%.

Go over to the above link and check out the blog. It's a good one!

Monday, April 05, 2010

New Link Lists

I redid the links on my sidebar. There are only a few now, but I hope to add to them--especially the links with tutorials! I've found so many wonderful blogs.

In fact, I worry that I spend too much time bookmarking great ideas and not actually carrying them out, LOL!

Friday, April 02, 2010

Needlebook I made and 600 posts!

Wow, I just realized this is my 600th post! I sure do feel old and decrepit! I wonder how many posts that is in dog years?

Anyway, the pic above is a super-easy needle book I made. I just took a long rectangle of fabric and folded it in half. I sewed around 3 sides, then inserted a piece of cardboard (about as thin as a cereal box, but it was from something else) into it. Then I sewed up the edge. I cut a piece of felt a little smaller than the 'book', then sewed it down the middle to make the 'spine'--right through the cardboard.

Those are beading needles in the picture, which is why they look skinny and weird. I glued the gold thing that holds the threader onto the other side.

One silly mistake: I put one of the ribbons on backwards. Oh, well!

No pic of the outside as it is plain, but I'll probably glue on some cute buttons or something.

The furry stuff in the background is my cat Melody, who personifies 'curious cat.'

BTW, my yellow baby afghan is twice is big now. I think I'll have to post how much I've done each week so I'll keep up with it!

A blessed and peaceful Good Friday to all.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Clothesline Day

We had very heavy rain a few days ago--7 inches, I heard. Not as bad as some areas but still pretty messy.

Today, however, the sun is shining and the sky is blue. It's 67 (!) degrees outside. So I get to hang laundry on the line! (Yeah, I'm easy to entertain.)

I just ran some of my spring tops through a rinse cycle to dampen them, put them on hangers, and hung them out to dry. Since they are already hung up, all I have to do is transfer them from the line to my closet! Easy, huh?

If I ever move, it better not be to one of those lame communities that don't let you hang up clotheslines. What is it with those people?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Little Daffodils

I have some miniature daffodils growing in my yard. The picture below shows you how tiny they are! Aren't they cute? I wish more flowers came pint-sized!

Friday, March 26, 2010

SCF--cleaning and crochet today

Well, I hope I get in some crochet! I decided when I woke up this morning that my concentration will be on a big kitchen overhaul. That means taking everything off the counters and table-top, cleaning those 'behind the scenes' areas and then putting things back. I'm not one of those 'stick to a job until it is finished' types. It's boring, IMHO. So I do some fun stuff--like blogging--in between boring stuff like wiping crumbs from where the toaster sits.

But I want to keep up with Sew Crafty Friday
over at Shereen's blog, so I'll just show you some of my on-going crochet projects:

The yellow thing on top is the start of a baby blanket. It will be for the first great-grandchild of the family. My older sister's daughter is having a little boy in July--my first grand-nephew! I plan to make this about the right size for a car seat (because a light blanket is good when the A/C is on) , and add a blue border around the edges. It is a very easy shell pattern--each shell is simply one single and two double crochets.
I need to finish this one, so it is where I'm concentrating. I try to do a few rows a day (it's 120 stitches across).

Moving down is my first attempt at mittens. They are easier than I expected but I didn't get them finished in time for a Christmas gift last year, so they will be for someone next winter. I only need to do one thumb!

The blue and brown thing is an afghan that is about 1/4 done. It's another one I try to work on regularly, although it is not in line to be a gift. I bought the multi-colored yarn on the clearance rack a while back because I love the combo of turquoise and browns. I picked up the turquoise yarn for the solid part of the blanket. I did about 20 rows of the mixed, and I'll do a large section of solid, then one section of mixed and will finish with solid on top. It is grownup-sized, btw.

Lastly, the purple thing on the bottom will be a giant crayon pillow. I started this a loooong time ago and only pick it up once in a while. I really have to be in the mood to do all those single crochets.

Which brings me to one last item, which I did not photograph because there's nothing to see yet. I'm actually attempting to crochet socks. They are taking a long, long time because the sock yarn is very fine and the hook is teeny-tiny. And it doesn't help that I lost my instruction book!

Please visit Shereen's blog and participate in Sew Craft Friday. Please? We want to see how talented you are! (And yes, whether you knit, sew, crochet, scrapbook or whatever, you ARE talented!)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I heart roti chicken...

...although not 1/1,000,000th as much as I heart my husband (see previous post), LOL!

Okay, I know I have blogged about rotisserie chickens before, especially when stores offer them for half price. Last Friday I got a huge one (a "Big Chickie," LOL) for only $4.50. It's about twice the size of a usual chicken. Anyhoo, I broke it down and I'm getting two meals (for four) and several lunches out of it. Plus I boiled it up the leftover bones/etc. for broth--two free quarts! And of course, the dog and cats enjoy any scraps.

The reason I'm writing about it today is because I just finished a delicious chicken salad sandwich. It was a little different because I put chopped up dried cherries in the mix. I had bought some a while ago because I have heard cherries are really, really good for you. The dried ones are too pricey, but you only need a few and they keep for quite a long time. (Think about adding any dried fruit next time you make chicken salad--yum!)

Hey, if you've gotten this far, I hope you will check out some other wonderful tips at these 'blog parties' (or carnivals or whatever they are called!):

"Works for Me Wednesday" (Wednesdays) at:

"Penny Pinching Party" (Wednesdays) at:

"Kitchen Tip Tuesdays" (I know, I'm a day late!):

Sunday, March 21, 2010

My husband is awesome

But I think I probably blogged that already. Can I say it enough? He comes inside today and says, "Merry Christmas!" (Yeah, I's really the second day of spring.) So what do you think he got me?
A new laptop! Here I sit playing with it. It's a Compaq. Don't ask me the tech stuff about it, but it's faster than any other computer we have with a longer-lasting battery.
My son (the computer expert) set it all up for me. I just need to get a mouse. (I've found from experience I do not like the little pad attached to the computer, but it's okay for now.)

One nice aspect is a button that tells you if a site is okay to use. It is a green circle. If it isn't all green, the site is questionable. In fact, Michael says it won't even let me on any bad sites at all! I'm pretty sure that's why my last laptop eventually crashed.

There is a blessing in disguise, though, regarding the old laptop. After it crashed, Nick reset it to its original factory settings. Everything was lost, but the truth is that all my photos are both on my desktop computer and my camera, and I had already moved my writing work to that computer, too. So...without all the programs, the computer now runs almost as fast as it did two years ago.

What a great day--I got my new laptop, and Nicky now has his own. I'd say that was awesome, except I'm reserving that word for my husband.

Yeah, he's a keeper.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Sew Crafty Friday: Necklaces

Here are some necklaces that I've made. These are just simple one-strand designs, but I have a beading magazine and plan to try my hand at more complicated patterns like flowers.
I make my necklaces on stretchy cord and I use magnetic clasps--except for the blue necklace, which has a barrel clasp you screw together. I prefer the magnetic ones--all you do is hold them close and they immediately snap together. I don't know about you, but reaching behind my head to hook necklaces in the regular way is annoying and clumsy.

I picked up most of the beads on sale, or using my Michael's coupon. The blue pendant was purchased for $4 at a store in Columbus, Ohio. It is glass and one-of-a-kind. That particular necklace probably cost me $10-12 to make and you know you wouldn't find it in any store for that cheap of a price!
Please take a hope over to Shereen's blog (link on my sidebar) for Sew Crafty Friday. It isn't just for sewing, but for any kind of crafters. C'mon, show us all how talented you are!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

Well, first, you really need to hop over to "Tammy's Recipes" (see my sidebar for link) and check out her awesome cheesecakes! The orange and vanilla one makes me crave a Creamsicle Pop, LOL!

My tip today is silly, I think, but it works. Do you buy coffee in cans? If you do and you are like me, you probably save them. Well, I found they make a great place to store 'crushable' items like donuts or muffins before you put them in the freezer. Just put as many of the item as you can fit, close the lid, then label the top of the can. This is a good way to put aside a few snacks for later use (don't ice your cupcakes, btw), so that when you are in the mood for something sweet--but you don't feel like baking--all you have to do is take one or two from the can (or all of them, LOL!), let them thaw, then ice and enjoy.

Please visit Tammy for links to more tips!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Almost Missed Sew Crafty Friday!

It's past 10 p.m. and this was the kind of day that went by too fast...suddenly I remembered Sew Crafty Friday (check it out on Shereen's on my sidebar.)

I don't have my camera handy but I wanted to post something. So I just got an idea.

For all you crafters out there, may I suggest checked "" first for your supplies? The prices are reasonable, many of the items are things not easily found, and the sellers are regular people like you and me. They not only offer wonderful handmade goodies, but also just about anything you need to make your own projects.

I just got a package of pink safety eyes that I will use for homemade Easter Bunny stuffies. The seller is Stephanie over at

Oh, and btw? The shipping on most items is much, much more reasonable than regular retail!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Organization Tips

Lori over at Couponomic Stimulus Package asked for some organization tips a few days ago. I just came across the post but I'm sure she won't mind my joining in. I might have already posted these tips, and they are certainly not originally from me (I wish!), but they are worth repeating.

1. Think "FIFO" (like fee-fi-fo-fum, LOL), which stands for Full In, Full Out. It means never walking up or down a flight of stairs or in or out of a room without something in your hands. Leaving the bedroom? Grab a load of laundry to take to the laundry room (even if you don't plan to do a wash just then). On the way out of the living room, grab a cup or a bowl to drop off in the kitchen.
If I'm heading from the kitchen to my bedroom, I pass the pantry closet (used to be a linen closet), so I always try to grab one or two things to put back there. Remember that every thing you put away is one less thing out of place!

2. Don't throw your manuals and guide books into one big folder. A better idea is to make a folder for each section of the house, and file all that information according to where the appliance/toy/thing is kept. For instance, the warranty and receipt for my dishwasher is in my 'kitchen' file. It's a lot easier to find what you are looking for when you only have a few things to go through instead of 30 or so!

3. Color-coordinate your files. In my house, taxes are purple, cars are blue, health-related is green, for example. Having that purple file every year makes it much easier to toss in all those forms and statements needed for our taxes--instead of just dumping them and then having to hunt them down later.

Obviously we have a file cabinet. It is the kind where you use hanging files. Remember that those 'hanger files' are not where you put your papers. You put them in folders, and then put the folders into the hangers. A file cabinet, even a little 2-drawer one like we have, is a great investment. You might even see them at garage sales!

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

It's Kitchen Tip Tuesday time over at Tammy's Recipes (see my sidebar). Here's my donation this week:

Sometimes, your local supermarket will have a really good deal on rotisserie chickens. I blogged a long time ago that we found one store that sells them half price after about 8 on a Saturday night.

My tip is to use the carcass (lovely word) the same way you'd use leftovers from your own chicken--for stock! Throw the bird into a pot and add some water (plus spices or onions or whatever if you want), bring to a boil and then simmer for about an hour. If you can,break up the chicken so more of the marrow goes into the water. Then strain it into a jar or two. You might only get about 4 cups of broth, but that's four cups you don't have to pay for (and that don't have MSG or whatever in them!)

BTW, the skin and parts that aren't 'pretty' go to the dog and cats. I'm more popular than ever when I've got chicken for them!

Monday, March 08, 2010

Tortilla Pizza

I found a pizza recipe using flour tortillas instead of pizza dough. I figured it was a good, quick way to make something different for lunch. The recipe calls for turkey pepperoni. Now me, I'm fussy--don't mess with what I know. But since I'm having some blood pressure problems and need to lose a little weight, I figured what the heck.

To my surprise, it tastes almost exactly like regular pepperoni but with 75% less fat! I have to do a comparison of the sodium content, but you get to eat a lot of pepperoni slices in one serving--and I only eat about 1/4 of that.

All you need is flour tortillas (or make them if you are ambitious), some sauce, low-moisture* mozzarella and whatever toppings you want. I have a pizza stone but you can use a cookie sheet just as well. Just throw it together and pop it into a 400 degree oven. It should cook up in a few minutes--if it turns brown around the edges, it's crispier. I like it that way. My younger son had his softer and just bent it like a soft taco.

*I think I've blogged about this before, but you always want the low-moisture kind so your pizza doesn't get all runny.

I made up a menu plan for two weeks and for the first time included some breakfasts and lunches. I'm not going overboard here--breakfast happens to be whatever was on sale in the frozen section of the grocery, cereal or maybe French toast or bacon and eggs. (Yeah, I know--bacon and blood pressure do not mix well. If I eat the stuff once a month, that's a lot. Ha, ha, maybe I'll see if turkey bacon tastes good!)

Hope everyone has a nice week! I'm seeing green things poking out of the ground, yay!

Friday, March 05, 2010

Sew Crafty Friday

Please visit Shereen's blog (see my sidebar). Sew Crafty Friday isn't up yet--it's early, but you can see how cute her dog RJ is...and I hope that SCF is there later on!

Here are some more St. Pat's things I've made. The potholder on top is a recent project. The back is a plain square of the darker green and the front is just two rectangles sewn together. I free-hand drew the shamrock for the applique, and I made the bias binding. I had bought some insulated batting* for the middle. It makes a pretty thin potholder, but is good for taking things out quickly from the oven, like cookies. If I need to hold something a little longer, I just double-up and use 2 potholders. (*A great investment--one package will make many projects!)

I did the pillows a few years ago. I had a pattern for those shamrocks, which is why they look so much nicer, LOL!

The heart-shaped pillow was the easiest thing to make. You start with a square, then draw two round bumps around two sides. The way I did it was to sew the heart together, then use that to trace a plain heart for the back.

And, btw, you can see that a shamrock is nothing more than 3 hearts put together! So all you really need to do is trace a Valentine's heart 3 times. Or you can get 3 heart-shaped pieces (wood, styrofoam, whatever), glue them together and paint them or wrap them in fabric and you have a St. Pat's decoration!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

St. Pat's Apron

Note from mom2fur: I'm so happy to report (thanks for the info, Nanci!) that Shereen is back with "Sew Crafty Friday." You can link there from my sidebar. I hope others will join in the fun, too--you don't have to sew, just be crafty!

One thing that's nice about being snowed in, with no obligation to go places, is you get time to finish something or other. My something or other is this St. Pat's apron. I have an apron I bought several years ago that is flattering on me. It's kind of scooped around the bottom, then it tapers up to the waistline. So I traced around it on this shamrock fabric. I left off a bottom ruffle, which is very pretty but more work than I wanted to do for something I'll only wear one month out of the year.

The binding around the color is bias tape I made myself. I got the idea from "Sewing with Nancy." You just line up strips of scrap fabric, sew them together, then cut them on the bias. If you have an apron you love that lays nice and flat (no gathers, I mean), you could also trace off a pattern from it.

I'm off in a little while to get my hair done--my husband pays for the whole thing every 6 weeks. Isn't he something?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Snow More, please

All right, I know it's still officially winter, but I've had enough of snow! We've got 10 inches on the ground today and it's still coming down.

Oh, well, at least I don't have to go anywhere. I've got banana bread baking in the oven and I'm working on a new apron for St. Patrick's Day. I was really happy when I was putting away Valentine's goodies that I found a box marked "Spring Fabric." Wahoo! Not only were there some pretty ones with flowers (like tulips) and some cheerful pastels, but I bought 3 yards of shamrock fabric on sale last year! I'm making a full apron and some potholders with it, and I'm sure there will be other projects. Don't you love it when you take out a box and find things you bought on sale a year ago, but forgot?

It's almost like a gift!

Hope everyone is warm and safe.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Kitchen Tip Tuesday

I had almost forgotten about Kitchen Tip Tuesday over at Tammy's Recipes! I actually have one today:

To keep your cutting board from slipping on the counter, take a cleaning rag or wash cloth, wet it, then wring it out. Put it under the cutting board and it will stay in place no matter how much slicing and dicing you do.

And the best part is that you can use the cloth to wipe your counter when you are done!

Here's a link to Tammy, where you'll find some other great tips:

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day to all. My husband really surprised me with a new Nintendo DS! And it's RED!!! (My favorite color!)

See, I had a pink one that died on me. I tried a new charger with no luck, and then I ordered a battery on line. Dopey me...I didn't realize it was a DS Lite, so I had the wrong battery. I'll just give it to someone with a regular DS.

So Mike says this morning: "I was going to do the flowers and candy thing, but I decided I wanted to do something more special. And I saw you had this 'hole' in your life these days. I wanted to make you happy..."

Oh, yeah. He cracks me up big time--the 'hole' in my life is not having my DS to fiddle with. Honestly, I missed it but not that much, but he knew how much fun I had with it. So he got me a new one.

I think, maybe, I'll keep this guy.

I hope you all are as happy today as I am.

(PS--my gift to him was a CD I burned of some songs he likes. Not much compared to a DS, but he's a guy who doesn't want much. The family is getting lasagna for dinner, and I'm about to look up my spritz cookie recipe to make heart-shaped cookies!)

Sunday, February 07, 2010

More Valentine's Decor

I didn't want my last "IMHO' post to sit on the top for too long, so here's some more of my Valentine's decorations. I don't have a lot, not like Christmas or Halloween, but there's a nice touch of red (my favorite color!) around my house these days!

I change the flowers in this wall sconce with the seasons. Sorry the photo is sideways!

Mike gave me this pair of hugging bears way back when we were first going out...some time in the early 70s! I bought these votive candle holders for $5 to 'fill in' a blank wall area in the dining room because I didnt' want to hang a big picture or mirror there! I love the 3-D look. They are about 20 inches tall with 5 candle holders in each. And it's a great place to hang little things. I'm thinking U--S--A for Memorial Day and 4th of July!

Here's more of the shelf with the candy. I also use it as a 'catchall,' which isn't great decorating (hence the green m&ms which will be for St. Pat's) but at least one shelf is totally Valentine's.
My mother gave me the strawberry cookie jar many years ago. I moved it out of the kitchen because strawberries remind me of hearts! In fact, anything red will do...don't think you have to go out and spend money to decorate! Just think of appropriate colors!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Just some thoughts...

Today I decided to hunt around for some frugal blogs. I was surprised at how snotty and downright mean some of the commenters were! And so judgemental! For instance, there was one lady who spoke about owning an iPod and having the occasional Starbucks. And for that, some of her commenters called her to task for not being 'truly frugal.'

Well, what exactly is frugal? For the record, the blogger above got that iPod with 'points' and some other discounts and ended up getting it very cheaply. Does frugal mean you only get to buy the cheapest of the cheap? Does it mean you have to live on beans and can never have steak?

Well, I just got a Wii for my birthday. I've wanted one for years. It was partly a gift and partly from my own pocket. Yeah, a $200 toy isn't exactly frugal, which is why it's taken me years to get this. I make no apologies, not even for my own out-of-pocket donation. I love it, I need the exercise, and it's cheaper than a gym membership. I'd never go to the gym, anyway, being somewhat shy and unsociable. (I'm nice and friendly, just not 'sociable.' If that makes any sense!)

What's the point on saving money if you don't sometimes spend it, too? You can't take it with you! Clipping coupons, cooking from scratch and eating home as much as possible--I like doing this, but it would end up being a drag if there wasn't some reward involved.

Isn't that what frugal is all about? Whether you are 'Sorta Frugal' like me, or the type that uses cloth for toilet paper and washes out zippy bags, don't you save money in the areas that don't count so much so you can have those things you really, really, really want without breaking the bank!

Frankly, I'll stick with my 'nice' bloggers and stay away from the snobs and commenters who think they know so much.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Frugal Holiday Idea

I love after-holiday clearances. Not only do you get great buys, but sometimes you can make those clearance items do double-duty. For instance, red things from Christmas can sometimes be used for Valentine's Day and even Fourth of July.
CVS had M&Ms and Hershey's Kisses on sale for 90% off a few weeks ago. That worked out to about 20 cents a bag! I sorted them out and here is what I put out for Valentine's month. (I don't really expect the candy to last until the 14th, LOL!) The ice cream sundae dishes cost me about a quarter each at the local Salvation Army Thrift store.
I think I might tie some red ribbons around the stems.
Obviously, I'll be using the green candy for St. Patrick's Day!
Now, it's too late if you didn't get candy after Christmas. But look at the Valentine's candy after the 14th. I would be you'll find plenty of pink goodies--which can either be used for Easter or Mom's Day or even for a little girls' party's goodie bags!